(Originally posted on Exposure Magazine September 22, 2017).
Energy Vampires…yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Those special people who drain every ounce of energy from you because they demand so much encouragement, coaxing, and time. We all have them in our lives. Sadly, sometimes we are even related to or married to them. It doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, but it will definitely require some major reconstruction.
First, you must identify them. You will know who they are because when you are done spending time with them, you will be exhausted. The mental energy required is simply too much. A body can only be drained so far before a recharge has to occur. If you are unable to recharge, you might find yourself snapping at others. Your “nice” is all used up. Most likely the Energy Vampires, EV’s, have many victims. They prey on those who are compassionate, want to help, and are generally kind people. Reality is that if you are unable to detach from the vampire and regroup, you may attach yourself to someone else and suck them dry. It’s a bit like the flu. It can be contagious, and that never generates a great outcome. It often happens in a close environment in a workplace. If boundaries aren’t drawn you can become the next victim. Do a self-check and make sure you aren’t the vampire first! Boundaries will be the answer to combatting Energy Vampires in the workplace and in your personal relationships. In the work place you can create “save me alliances”. This is a response to being cornered by an EV. A co-worker get a look or a signal from you and know you require assistance. The signal can be a code word, cough, phone call, etc. It is not a way of avoiding the situation, but working together to reduce the carnage and reduction in productivity. I once worked where there were two offices side by side, and any time that an EV walked in, they got 5 minutes. After that, the person in the next office would call them and tell them they needed their help. This was a strategy implemented after the EV stood there for 2-3 hours a couple of different times. Truly a plan was needed. Know who the energy vampires are in your life and have a plan in place for saving yourself. They are often lovely people that simply do not even understand what they cause. Knowing who they are and what your plan is to deal with them will save you a lot of grief. Draw the boundaries and protect yourself- no garlic needed!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."